Chemical Reviews, Vol.120, No.2, 1250-1349, 2020
A Theory/Experience Description of Support Effects in Carbon-Supported Catalysts
The support plays an important role for supported metal catalysts by positioning itself as a macromolecular ligand, which conditions the nature of the active site and contributes indirectly but also sometimes directly to the reactivity. Metal species such as nanoparticles, clusters, or single atoms can be deposited on carbon materials for various catalytic reactions. All the carbon materials used as catalyst support constitute a large family of compounds that can vary both at textural and at structural levels. Today, the recent developments of well-controlled synthesis methodologies, advanced characterization techniques, and modeling tools allow one to correlate the relationships between metal/support/reactant at the molecular level. Based on these considerations, in this Review article, we wish to provide some answers to the question "How and why anchoring metal nanoparticles, clusters, or single atoms on carbon materials for catalysis?". To do this, we will rely on both experimental and theoretical studies. We will first analyze what sites are available on the surface of a carbon support for the anchoring of the active phase. Then, we will describe some important effects in catalysis inherent to the presence of a carbon-type support (metal-support interaction, confinement, spillover, and surface functional group effects). These effects will be commented on by putting into perspective catalytic results obtained in numerous reactions of thermal catalysis, electrocatalysis, or photocatalysis.